Michael Hooper to miss Australia's final game of tour against Wales, James Slipper named captain

Michael Hooper suffered a grade two foot sprain
Michael Hooper suffered a grade two foot sprain

Australia will miss the services of skipper James Slipper for the final game of their northern hemisphere tour against Wales this weekend.

Hooper sustained a grade two strain during the recently concluded fixture against Wales where he was forced off the field in the 52nd minute. The 30-year-old was earlier named among the nominees for the World Rugby Player of the Year 2021 along with his team-mate Samu Kerevi, England's Maro Itoje and France's Antonie Dupont.

Rob Valetini confirmed the news on Hooper and conceded that his absence will be a big blow to the side.

“Obviously ‘Hoops’ is a massive loss,” Valetini told reporters.

“Obviously he’s our captain but he’s probably the biggest workhorse in our team. He never stops, and that’s something that the team will miss.”

Meanwhile, a Rugby Australia spokesperson revealed that prop James Slipper will be leading the side for the weekend's game in the absence of Hooper. It will be the second time Slipper will be leading the side after previously captaining them in the fixture against he USA leading to the 2015 World Cup.

“It’s obviously devastating losing our skipper Hoops but the boys are very excited (for Slipper), there was a big roar when we heard Slips would be captain,” flyhalf James O’Connor said on Tuesday.

“He’s one of our leaders in the leadership group. He’s been there and done that and everyone can rely on him. He’s got a very steady presence.

"It's credit to the hard work that he's put in and how much he leaves it all out there."